# Questions tagged [combinatorial-geometry]

Combinatorial geometry is concerned with combinatorial properties and constructive methods of discrete geometric objects. Questions on this topic are on packing, covering, coloring, folding, symmetry, tiling, partitioning, decomposition, and illumination problems.

548 questions
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### Gerrymandering on a high-genus surface/can I use my powers for evil?

Somewhat in contrast to this question. Let's say the Supreme Court has just issued a ruling that the upper and lower roads of an overpass need not be in the same congressional district. This makes ...
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### Geometric way to view the truncated braid groups?

This is perhaps a vague question, but hopefully there exists literature on the subject. The question is motivated by an answer I gave to this question. I also asked a related question on MO, although ...
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### In how many different ways can a 9-panel comic grid be used?

While writing my answer to Why does “Watchmen” use the 9-panel grid? I used this picture to indicate the many ways it can be divided into groups (which may be used for the panels of a comic, as was ...
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### Cutting up a circle to make a square

We know that there is no paper-and-scissors solution to Tarski's circle-squaring problem (my six-year-old daughter told me this while eating lunch one day) but what are the closest approximations, if ...
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### Expected length of the shortest polygonal path connecting random points

$N$ points are selected in a uniformly distributed random way in a disk of a unit radius. Let $L(N)$ denote the expected length of the shortest polygonal path that visits each of the points at least ...
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### Can Three Equilateral Triangles with Sidelength $s$ Cover A Unit Square?

A previous question on the site asked for a short proof of the fact that three equilateral triangles with unit side length cannot be arranged to cover a square with unit side lengths. Given the truth ...
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### On existence of boards that be covered by every free tetromino

There is a board which can be covered by each of five free tetrominoes: However, it's not simply-connected (has a hole). I wonder if there is a simply-connected board with the same property.
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### square cake with raisins

Alice bakes a square cake, with $n$ raisins (= points). Bob cuts $p$ square pieces. They are axis-aligned, interior-disjoint, and each piece must contain at least $2$ raisins. Note that a single ...
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### How many planar arrangements of $n$ circles?

Is there a known formula or recursion for the number of distinct arrangements of $n$ distinct circles in a plane, where two arrangements are regarded as distinct unless one can be obtained from the ...
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### Circles on the plane such that every line intersects at least one of them but no line intersects more that 100 of them

I have a serious problem with this problem: Is it possible to Draw circles on the plane such that every line intersects at least one of them but no line intersects more that 100 of them !? Any help ...
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### The generous lazy caterer

It is well-known that $n$ chords divide any convex shape into at most $\frac{n^2+n+2}2=T_n+1$ regions – the lazy caterer's sequence. For example, the pancake below is cut into seven pieces by three ...
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### Maximum $C$ such that every shape in $\Bbb R^2$ with area $<C$ can be placed to avoid $\Bbb Z^2$

For $C=1$, it has been proved here that every shape in the plane having area less than $1$ can be translated and rotated so that it does not touch any element of $\mathbb Z^2$. (In fact, for $C=1$, ...
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### How many balls of radius 1 can be packed into a sphere of radius 10?

How I can calculate the maximum number of balls of radius 1 that can be packed into a sphere of radius 10?
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### Circle enclosing all but one of $n$ points

It looks like a simple question but it turns out rather difficult to me. Here is the question: Given $n$ points on the plane, can we always draw a circle that includes exactly $n-1$ of them?
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### How many different shapes can I make with this toy?

I have the following toy, perhaps some of you have seen it before. It consists of a bunch of cubes with an elastic string in the middle. You can bend it into different shapes like this: Or this: Or ...
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### Shooting Game for Fun

Trigger Warning: Murder is mentioned. Let there be $n>1$ people (players) on a plane, each having a loaded gun and each being a perfect shot (assuming that each bullet is laced with one gram of ...
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### Size of connected regions on a randomly-colored infinite chessboard

Consider an infinite chessboard where each square is colored white with probability $p$ and black with probability $1-p$. Suppose without loss of generality that the square at $(0,0)$ is white. We ...
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### How many unit squares can overlap a given unit square without overlapping each other?

How many unit squares can overlap a given unit square without overlapping each other? @calculus has managed to arrange 7 squares (see this GeogebraTube page). This seems like the maximum possible, ...
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### 5 moving points in plane, one goes to infinity

Suppose we have $5$ points in plane, each lying on a line for which no three of these lines intersect in one point, and also non of these $5$ points is an intersection point of two lines. At time $t=0$...
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### Expected values of some properties of the convex hull of a random set of points

$N$ points are selected in a uniformly distributed random way in a disk of the unit radius. Let $P(N)$ and $A(N)$ denote the expected perimeter and the expected area of their convex hull. For what $N$...
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### Biggest Little Polyhedron

The Biggest Little Polygon problem asks for the polygon with greatest area where the largest diameter is 1. Let's add a dimension and find the largest volumes. What is the biggest little polyhedron ...
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### Coloring $\mathbb R^n$ with $n$ colors always gives us a color with all distances.

I wanted to share a really cool but simple problem. Consider a coloring of the points of $\mathbb R^n$ with $n$ colors. Prove that there is a color $c$ such that for any $r>0$ there are two points ...
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### Configurations of eleven (or more) points in the Euclidean plane, such that out of any four there is a pair at unit distance.

Inspired by this question, I was wondering the following: What is the maximal size of a subset $C$ of the Euclidean plane such that out of any four points in $C$ there are two at unit distance ...
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### Tiling of a $9\times 7$ rectangle

Can a rectangle $9\times 7$ be tiled by "L-blocks" (an L-block consists of $3$ unit squares)? Although the problem seems to be easy, coloring didn't help me. The general theory is interesting, but I'...
Here is a question which seems easy but seems to have many pitfalls. If I give you an arbitrary covering of the sphere by $N$ closed hemispheres. You can pick any of the hemispheres to keep. What is ...